A Taste of Integrated Marketing
Every now and again it happens: Thanksgiving dinner turns out like you see on the Food Channel. And in our house, this was the year.
As the chef in charge of turkey and gravy, I was pretty proud when the bird came out moist and tasty. Not underdone or dry as dust as has occasionally happened in the past.
Janet’s potatoes and side dishes were spot on, including the year’s newest addition – a sweet potato and apple tureen. And I say this as someone who is convinced that orange vegetables are the work of the devil.
Then there was the apple pie, fresh out of the oven – a perfect melding of sweet and tart. It screamed for a second slice.
As I looked back on the meal, I realized that we often critique our important dinners by focusing on the mistakes or the weakest parts. Things guests might notice, but would never say.
It goes something like, “Yeah it was good, but I burned the pie crust.” Or over-salted the gravy… or forgot to cook the carrots… or spilled wine on grandma’s new white tablecloth.
But a dinner that comes together is the result of a perfect combination of planning, execution and experience (and being careful not to spill the wine). Think of it as an integrated approach to holiday dining.
Now what if you applied that same approach to marketing your business? (Nice segue, huh?)
Here’s what I mean…
- Consider your guests when planning. Our family prefers the traditional Thanksgiving route. Yes we tried a few new dishes this year, but they were typical items just prepared in different and interesting ways.
Know what types of information will please and motivate your audiences. By all means, experiment with new ways of presenting that information, but do your best to stay within their comfort zones.
- Pay attention to the main dish. When it comes to Thanksgiving, it’s the turkey that gets the ooh’s and ahh’s. If I had botched it, there would have been lots of groans and nasty looks from the relatives – even if the rest of the dinner was flawless.
What’s the main marketing dish in your business? Could be your website, your catalog, your newsletter, or even your physical store. This is where you want your customers and clients to linger, appreciate what you offer and to buy. Take a critical look at it from their perspective: Browse your website, subscribe to your newsletter, or order something from your catalog you know isn’t in stock.
- Pick the right side dishes. It’s only natural to respond to every recipe you see on TV or in a magazine with, “I gotta make that!” But what if in doing so you end up with five kinds of potatoes and cranberry sauce? Better to prepare a few sides that complement each other and the turkey.
Same with marketing tactics. It’s tempting to jump on the latest digital tool without considering whether it’s a good fit or adds to the customer experience. Pick a few that you can comfortably manage. Maybe it’s some combination of email, direct mail, research papers, a blog, an online community or Twitter. Make sure they work together and help lead prospective customers to the “main dish.”
- Focus on the mistakes. It has taken a few Thanksgivings for Janet and me to have everything come out right. Getting there meant paying attention to all of those “Yeah, it was good, but…” years and making adjustments.
Ignoring your marketing faux pas or putting effort into tactics that never work is like serving burnt pie crusts and raw carrots year after year. At some point your prospects and customers will start looking around for better offers. So take the time to review, test and improve.
The bottom line: An effective marketing strategy is like a good holiday dinner. Putting it together is an integrated effort that requires some skill, some experience, some sensitivity and some agility.
Most of all, it’s about giving your prospects an experience that will make them want to come back for more.
And who doesn’t like seconds?